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The Proteus Operation
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Background

World War II has always interested me, probably as a result of growing up in wartime and postwar London. And alternate history stories have always formed a popular sub-category of science fiction. Contrary to what many people think, s.f. doesn't so much attempt to predict what will happen in the future as set up questions along the lines of "what if?" and play with possible answers. So an obvious line of thought that arose from combining the above two considerations is a story that asks "what if" World War II had gone differently.

This was hardly the first time that such a notion had occurred to a writer. The usual treatment, however, was simply to postulate another reality in which Hitler won, or the Allies joined with him against the Soviets, or whatever the premise is, or alternatively to have somebody go back through time who changes things in such a way as to bring them about. Both approaches end up yielding an altered present. So I thought I'd try tackling it the other way around. Suppose that things were different "originally," and it was only the intervention of people from a future very unlike ours that altered events and shaped the history that we know.

 
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